Quote: Build a ship (Antoine de Saint-Exupery) - Translation request (maybe off-topic)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Feb 21 00:40:52 UTC 2012

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood,
divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the
vast and endless sea.

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect
wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to
long for the endless immensity of the sea.

Above are two versions of a popular quotation attributed to Antoine de
Saint-Exupery. Below is a translated text based on a modified passage
in French written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.


Build Me a Boat
by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

If I communicate to my men
the love of sailing on the sea,
you will soon see them specializing
according to their thousand particular qualities:
that one will weave the canvas,
another will fell the tree in the forest,
another still will forge nails
and there will be some who observe the
stars to learn to steer,
and yet all will be as one.
To create the ship
is not to weave the canvas,
to forge the nails,
to read the stars,
but rather to convey the taste of the sea.

Below is an excerpt in French from Citadelle by Antoine de
Saint-Exupery. The translation above was created from a streamlined
version of the text below. Would someone be willing to translate this?
This might be the source of the English language quotation at the
beginning of this note. (Kevin Kelly told me about this possible
source text. It was located earlier by some individuals in the
QuotationsPage forum.)


Et par contre, si je communique à mes hommes l’amour de la marche sur
la mer, et que chacun d’eux soit ainsi en pente à cause d’un poids
dans le cœur, alors tu les verras bientôt se diversifier selon leurs
mille qualités particulières. Celui-là tissera des toiles, l’autre
dans la forêt par l’éclair de sa hache couchera l’arbre. L’autre,
encore, forgera des clous, et il en sera quelque part qui observeront
les étoiles afin d’apprendre à gouverner. Et tous cependant ne seront
qu’un. Créer le navire ce n’est point tisser les toiles, forger les
clous, lire les astres, mais bien donner le goût de la mer qui est un,
et à la lumière duquel il n’est plus rien qui soit contradictoire mais
communauté dans l’amour.

Thanks for any help

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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